Rumours have finally been confirmed that Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen will be making the move to Ferrari for the 2014 season.
Rumours have finally been confirmed that Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen will be making the move to Ferrari for the 2014 season. He will be accompanying current driver Fernando Alonso and leaving Felipe Massa without a drive for next season.
Räikkönen won the 2007 World Drivers’ Championship with Ferrari and his comeback into the sport clearly sees him looking to repeat previous successes. The Finn has been faring well at Lotus, finishing third in the WDC last year and even winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Ferrari have always been considered one of the best racing teams with a whole host of ex-champions under their belt, including Juan Manuel Fangio, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher. Räikkönen will no doubt be looking to make his return stronger than before by contending for his second title but with the likes of Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel it seems no matter what team he is a part of the struggle to win will be even greater.
Over 2012/13 Ferrari have not seemed as competitive as previous seasons, partly due to Red Bull’s dominance, with only three wins coming from Alonso in 2012. Yet the current Ferrari pair finished 2nd and 7th in the standings and their constant ability to score points saw them safely in second place of the Constructor’s Championship, after Red Bull. Was Räikkönen’s choice to move to Ferrari his first decision or down to the fact that the spare Red Bull seat left by Mark Webber had already been filled by Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo?
The loss of Massa could be dire for the team—he is a key component to Ferrari, an incredibly selfless driver who often acts as an aid to Alonso. Räikkönen surely won’t allow himself to be seen as a second driver for long and this could impact considerably on Alonso’s performance. It has even been intimated that it could be demeaning to Alonso for Ferrari to hire such strong competition; Räikkönen’s 2007 move to Ferrari made him the highest paid motor sport driver with an estimated $51 million annual salary!
Even not at the pinnacle of his career Räikkönen must come with a weighty price tag – surely Ferrari must be getting desperate for the title? Have they lost faith in the Spaniard?
For Massa the future currently seems to suggest a move to Lotus. With his racing experience Massa could be a fantastic guide to Romain Grosjean, Lotus’ second driver who came under a lot of scrutiny in 2012 for his somewhat erratic driving style. Ferrari’s president, Luca Di Montezemolo, told BBC Sport that it was Massa’s ‘inconsistency’ that lost him his position at Ferrari, but his loyalty and selflessness can’t be replicated, especially not by Räikkönen. In 2009 Massa suffered an injury at the Hungarian Grand Prix and since then he has certainly lost some of his spark – maybe it is time for the Brazilian to move on?
It will be interesting to see the outcome of the 2014 changes. If Ferrari produce a strong, competitive car with Alonso and Räikkönen on their side they really could be a match for the Red Bull’s. It will be sad to see Massa leave after eight seasons with the team but a move to Lotus may well prove beneficial, stepping out of Alonso’s shadow and proving himself on his own terms.
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